In this section, people talk about their first experiences with gambling. They tell us what they liked about it, why they began to gamble more frequently, and how it spiralled out of control.
No one sets out to become addicted to gambling. People describe how they liked the idea of winning money and they enjoyed it. Others describe how they started gambling to cope with or escape troubled lives. People then began to spend more time and money gambling and got into difficulty. Because gambling is addictive, gambling more resulted in more gambling.
People often did not recognise they were at risk of being harmed until it was too late, and they had already lost control. Several people talk about how they were encouraged to gamble by the gambling companies, and they were not warned of the harm it may cause. Many describe how they felt as if they had ‘sleepwalked into addiction’ by gambling more often, and they became confused by their own behaviour. People spoke of having no control, being a passenger, watching their own behaviour and being horrified but unable to stop.
To say that something is addictive means that it leads to people losing control and continuing to do it even though it is causing them harm. People describe how gambling works like an addictive substance, like alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. However, it is also a unique addiction because it is about money. And there are no identifiable physical signs or bodily limits. This makes gambling a very dangerous and harmful addiction. It causes people to destroy the basic resource they and those around them need to live – money. They describe how harm is rapid and unlimited – especially in the current gambling market.